And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
A friend recently let me know he was reading my book, which is always a nice thing to hear. I assume every author appreciates knowing that someone out there is reading. I was curious as to where he got the book. How did you hear about it? Was it a gift? Did you buy it on Amazon or from the local coffee shop? No, he told me, he found it at the local thrift store, where someone else had gotten rid of it. I’m not going to lie. That hurt a little, to know that, even though the book isn’t even a year old, someone got it, didn’t want it, and discarded it. I’m glad this guy now has the book and is reading it, and I know that the destiny of almost every book is to end up on the trash heap eventually, but still . . . it was my book that someone threw away.
It was the kind of reality check that my pride regularly requires. I do pray every morning that God would use me and my story however he sees fit. The important thing isn’t how many books I sell or how many people read my blog. The important thing for me is that I’m obedient to God’s will, doing whatever he wants. If my mom is the only one who reads what I write, that’s fine – I can go to bed at night knowing I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. My job isn’t to seek my version of success in numbers. Authentic success is simply to be obedient and leave the results up to God.
This seems to be Paul’s tone in today’s passage where he said that he came to the Corinthians, not with eloquence or dynamic speech. Rather, he came, simply preaching Christ. He came to them humbly, with confidence not in himself, but only in his message. His mission wasn’t to promote Paul, but to be a beacon that points others to God.
That’s a worthy goal of which we must often remind ourselves. Success isn’t about pointing the world to us. Authentic success is being obedient to God’s will, pointing others to him, and then leaving the results up to him.